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Oil and gas players make big moves

THE ambitions of two local oil and gas players took a big leap in the past week, with Coogee Resources Ltd and ARC Energy Ltd both taking major steps towards major developments. Coogee gained the backing of investment bank Babcock & Brown with an estimated $300 million raising, five months after Coogee scrapped plans for a $380 million public share offer and stockmarket float. The B&B investment will allow Coogee to continue with development of its Montara oil project in the Timor Sea and pursue its exploration program. Coogee did not disclose the value of B&B’s equity investment, but chief executive Peter Hood said the unlisted company’s existing shareholders, led by Mr Martin and his family, would face a smaller dilution than under the float plan. Coogee Resources has been advised on its corporate activities by Azure Capital. ARC said it had agreed to acquire the Wandoo Petroleum Pty Ltd portfolio of Australian production and exploration assets for about $380 million. The deal gives ARC a 40 per cent interest in the Wandoo oil field in the offshore Carnarvon Basin, a 24 per cent interest in the producing Cliff Head oil field in the offshore Perth Basin and a 12.5 per cent interest in the producing Yolla gas and condensate field in the offshore Bass basin. ARC said the move would transform the company.

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